At the end of October I finished reading this book titled Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. So during this month, I hoped to practice some of the things I learned from this book. Hence Mindful November.
I liked the idea of conserving mental energy that’s otherwise wasted on small stuff so we can use it for the things that really matter. The central theme of this book is to help keep the little things from taking over our lives.
I picked twelve things to practice during November. These rules sound like truisms, but as with all truisms, the challenge is in practicing. I failed miserably multiple times when situations have arisen. Lately some of my ducks are getting out of row (if they aren’t, they are not ducks, are they?). I would have saved a lot of mental energy had I applied some of these rules. But alas, such is life!
It is not all bad though. I did well in some of them. For example, I am not an aggressive driver but I am neither sagacious. I received a rather expensive speeding ticket in mail during the Bay of Islands road trip last month. Much earlier to this, since the start of the last year I decided not to honk at anyone on the road, regardless. Who knows what the other driver is going through. Everyone does mistakes sometime. So there is no point in getting zealous with horn as if I am saintly.
However, I was only not honking. I am still disturbed within when I see bad or dangerous driving. This morning someone cut in front of me in the traffic. But this time, instead of feeling angry, I recalled the following from lines from the book and instantly felt better.
Why not simply allow the driver to have his accident somewhere else? Try to have compassion for the person and remember how painful it is to be in such an enormous hurry. This way we can maintain our own sense of well-being and avoid taking other people’s problems personally.
And from the essay 57,
…you end up saving no time in getting where you want to go.
Nevertheless, I am an optimist and believe in practice. So I will get going.
Here are the twelve things I will continue to practice.
Let others finish.
Don’t interrupt others or finish their sentences.
Let others be right.
Let others have the glory.
Let others be more enlightened.
Imagine that everyone is enlightened except you.
Choose being kind over being right or being intelligent.
Praise and blame are all the same.
Become a less aggressive driver.
Think of what you have instead of what you want.
Look beyond behavior.
If someone throws you the ball, you don’t have to catch it.
When trying to be helpful, focus on little things.
Mind your own business.
Avoid analyzing or trying to figure out other people.